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Day 3 – Blyde River Canyon (Lowveld) – Tzaneen – Phalaborwa

Swadini was an experience worth very penny, the sights,the scenery,the grandiosity of it all.The canyon… Just breathtaking. But it was to be left behind to go towards Tzaneen.

Swadini
Swadini

Tzaneen, as we approach it, about 30km out the banana plantations are disappearing and being replaced by townships of houses made of brick and mortar and tiled roof. This town is now a city that has advanced far more than most of Gauteng, the province where Johannesburg is situated. Surprising indeed.

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Tzaneen itself is no treat as it holds no traits of an elaborate city, its dirty and busy. The tourism information centre was a sumptuous building that was unindicted, the staff was rather useless too. Not my best experience as you may have gathered. They got us lost to the Big Baobab Tree and nor their info or the GPS helped us to arrive at the Mojaji Cycad Forest which is also not indicated anywhere on the road. I think that Limpopo Tourism has a lot to do to “upgrade” the Tzaneen area.

As far as the the Big Baobab Tree with the so called bar inside it was a big detour to see nothing spectacular. We were rather disappointed. Maybe we have seen to many baobabs.

Big Baobab

The Mojaji Cycad Forest, though impossible to find and rather expensive, was impressive to say the least. The road both to get to the reserve entrance and then to get to the “picnic” spot need to be upgraded badly. However, there is a beautiful picnic area where there are barbeque places and facilities for about everything to have a good outing. There are also various walking trails through the reserve. The cycads are just mind blowing.

Mojaji Cycad Forest
Mojaji Cycad Forest

The road Phalaborwa is very good and we proceeded to the Amarula Lapa where the famous “Amarula cream” is manufactured. It’s a quick detour on the R40 South from the R71, about 5km from the intersection. Nice place with nice people and if you don’t know what Amarula cream is don’t worry they will introduce you to it for free. The experience consist of 1 glass of Amarula cream and an educational DVD presentation after which you can indulge yourself in a few specialities at the coffee shop or buy a few bottles at the curio shop. A good spot to relax and enjoy the African bush.

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I need to add a very special thanks to our hostess at Nando’s  Phalaborwa for an interesting and educative evening. If you are ever in Phalaborwa and want good service with a smile, it’s the place to be. I will cover my education in anther post in the next 2 weeks or so.

We spent the night at the Forever Phalaborwa, the camping site was clean and adequate.

Some useless statistics of the day:

  • Distance travelled: 440km
  • Maximum temperature: 24 degrees Celsius
  • Weather conditions: 30% cloud cover, no rain.
  • Photos taken: 216

Uploaded some photos to Flickr

Pascal Parent

Pascal's day job is as a technologist but you can mostly find him behind a camera after hours. As a passionate photographer he regularly shares his experiences with the world. From how-to to reviews you will find it all in his regularly updated blog and other places.

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roclafamilia
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Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

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